Senate passes bill to create Michigan Craft Beverage Council

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos to revise the makeup of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and update its name has been approved by the state Senate.

“This reform will ensure that the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is better positioned to promote and support our state’s craft beverage businesses and manufacturers,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan microbreweries, small distillers and brewpubs currently pay the license and renewal fees that fund the council, yet they have no representation on the council or benefit from their contributions.

“This reform would ensure that everyone who helps fund the council has a seat at the table and benefits from its work.”

Senate Bills 439 and 440 would change the name of the council to the “Michigan Craft Beverage Council.” Under the bills, the number of members on the council would be reduced from 12 to 10 and would include representatives from breweries and distilleries.

Under the legislation, a representative of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would serve as the council’s non-voting chairperson.

The governor would appoint nine voting members, which would include a retail food establishment operator who holds a Specially Designated Merchant license and sells Michigan wine or beer, a restaurant operator who holds a Class C license and serves Michigan wine, two winemakers, a winemaker who manufactures hard cider, a large brewer, either a microbrewer or a brewpub license holder, a small distiller, and an authorized distribution agent.

“I co-sponsored this initiative to ensure equal representation and membership on this important council, which has been an effective advocate for our wine industry for years,” Proos said. “The updated council will be a tremendous asset for Michigan’s up-and-coming microdistillery and craft beer industries and all Michigan agriculture.”

The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

**Media Advisory** Sen. Proos available for comments following 2018 State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos will be available for comments following the governor’s 2018 State of the State address on Tuesday.

Who:
Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph.

What:
Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:
Immediately following the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Where:
By phone.

Brief:
Proos will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

To schedule an interview time with the senator, please call Proos’ office at 1-517-373-6960 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 or contact Leanna Schafer at 1-989-640-7915.

Audio remarks by Proos will be available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

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Proos supports bill to help Michigan consumers and local auto dealers along the border

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday voted to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bills 94 and 95 to speed up “sales tax on the difference” reform.

Under the reform, Michigan sales and use taxes would only be applied to the difference between the price of a new car and the value of a trade-in.

After supporting the veto override, Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement:

“We have worked well with the governor to turn around our state and improve our economy, but it was necessary to stand up for Michigan consumers and override the veto of this important reform.

“The people of Southwest Michigan understand that having Michigan remain the only Great Lakes state that taxes the value of a trade-in during a purchase of a car or truck puts our local businesses at a competitive disadvantage and costs Michigan consumers more in taxes.

“I supported taking the historic step of overriding a governor’s veto because this reform is needed to help consumers save money and enable local auto dealers to better compete with Indiana sellers.”

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Proos supports tax reduction

Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference reports revenue is up

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos has announced that he supports new legislation to preserve the personal exemption on the state income tax and provide additional tax relief for Michigan families.

“As Michigan’s economy continues to grow and create jobs, we owe it to our hardworking residents and small businesses to provide them with well-earned tax relief,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I am a strong supporter of new Senate legislation that will ensure that Southwest Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming the personal exemption on their state taxes while also giving them an additional tax break that is responsible and affordable.”

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Trump in December 2017 simplifies the code, lowers tax rates, doubles the standard deduction and increases family tax credits. However, in streamlining the exemption process, it effectively ends the federal personal exemption. Since the state personal exemption is based on the federal return, without a revision to state law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim personal exemptions on their state taxes.

Senate Bill 748 would make the necessary changes to maintain the state personal exemption and also boost the exemption by an additional $500 to $4,800 by 2021. Currently, the state personal exemption is scheduled to increase from $4,000 to $4,300 over the next three years.

“This reform will help prevent a $1.5 billion tax hike on Michigan families and also put more money back into their pocketbooks,” Proos said.

State fiscal leaders from the Senate, House and executive branch and economists from across the state met Thursday for the annual January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference at the Capitol. Their economic and tax revenue projections are used to draft budget proposals for the next fiscal year, which will begin Oct. 1.

For the current 2018 fiscal year, state fiscal officials forecasted that Michigan will have $571.7 million more in total revenue than budgeted for last summer.

“Michigan is once again projected to have a significant budget surplus, which offers us a chance to invest in key priorities and reduce the burden on all Michigan taxpayers,” Proos said. “As a member of the Senate finance and appropriations committees, I look forward to helping enact this important tax relief as we begin the new state budget process.”

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Restoring sales and use tax exemptions for dental devices

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan sales and use taxes on dental bridges, crowns, dentures and other prosthetics have been eliminated by legislation supported by Sen. John Proos and signed into law.

“The ever-increasing costs of health and dental care are common frustrations of Southwest Michigan families and job providers,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Dental prosthetics that greatly improve the health of hundreds of people every year were exempt from the state’s sales and use taxes for more than three decades, until this summer, when the Michigan Department of Treasury arbitrarily started applying the tax to them.

“I strongly supported measures to help control costs for residents who need dental prosthetics by stopping the taxes and ensuring that the prosthetics will not be taxed in the future.”

Since a Department of Treasury opinion letter in 1985, Michigan had exempted dental prosthetics from the state’s sales and use taxes. Many Michigan tax laws were rewritten in 2004 to reduce the burden of compliance and improve tax administration.

Citing language in the 2004 rewrite, the department recently decided that dental prosthetics are not exempt and made the decision to start charging sales tax on the products beginning July 1.

Senate Bills 566 and 567 and House Bills 5164 and 5173, now Public Acts 218-221 of 2017, restore the sales and use tax exemptions for dental prosthetics. The savings is estimated to be more than $8 million per year.

“These products were never supposed to be taxed, and I applaud the governor for signing the bills and helping curb unnecessary cost hikes for dental care,” Proos said.

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Sen. Proos meets with St. Joseph County Conservation and Sportsman Club

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos spoke to the St. Joseph County Conservation and Sportsman Club (SJCC&SC) in Sturgis during their quarterly membership meeting in December.

Proos discussed the background of the Natural Resources Trust Fund and local projects, the effort to stop Asian carp, and term limits.

“It was an honor to speak to an outstanding group of outdoor enthusiasts, who are among our greatest custodians of Michigan’s natural resources,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “As a member of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, I have seen how organizations like the St. Joseph County Conservation and Sportsman Club help conserve and preserve our great outdoors and our outdoor heritage.”

The SJCC&SC was established in 1937 to promote conservation, fishing and hunting and the safe, ethical participation in the shooting sports.

The Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators who come together in support of sportsmen’s rights and to promote Michigan’s great outdoors.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Print-quality versions of the above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Photowire.

Proos supports bill to protect rape victims

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — A struggling mother whose child was conceived in rape would not have to worry about sharing custody with the father under legislation supported by Sen. John Proos.

“A rapist should never have access to a child conceived as a result of his rape of the mother,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “While parental rights can already be terminated after conviction of rape, this legislation would give additional protections by ensuring that rape victims applying for public assistance do not need to include the name of the biological father.”

In Michigan, when applying for Family Independence Program benefits with the Department of Health and Human Services, a parent must disclose the identity of the other biological parent, if known. Under department policy, an exemption is made for rape victims.

Senate Bill 650 would ensure that applicants know that they do not need to disclose the biological father’s identity if the child was conceived due to criminal sexual conduct committed by that parent.

The legislation was the result of a Michigan case, where a judge in Sanilac County awarded joint legal custody of a child to a convicted sex offender after the child’s mother had filed for child support and was required to list the biological father. The judge in the case was not presented with evidence that the father had raped the woman before signing the order awarding him joint legal custody, which includes the ability to argue for parenting time.

“Thankfully, after the information about the rape was brought to light, the order was reversed,” Proos said. “This bill would help ensure that no mother has to go through this in Michigan.”

SB 650 has been sent to the full Senate for consideration.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Proos supports child care security updates

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Child day care workers would need to pass criminal background checks and day care facilities would see increased inspections under bipartisan legislation supported by Sen. John Proos.

“Parents should never have to worry about the safety of their children at day care or whether the people they are entrusting to care for their children have a history of abuse,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Thankfully, most child care providers in Southwest Michigan and the entire state are good people who would never do anything to harm a child. This is about removing bad actors and ensuring all Michigan children in day care are protected.

“As these reforms give peace of mind to parents with children in day care, they will also protect funding for critical state oversight of child care facilities.”

In 2014, the federal government reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act for the first time since 1996. The act included updated regulations that states must meet for child care facilities and homes that run day care services.

If Michigan does not come into compliance with the new federal regulations, the state may lose $4 million in funding as a penalty.

Senate Bills 180-183 would make various updates and changes to Michigan’s current laws regarding child care licensure to comply with new federal requirements. The bills require all child care licensees, staff, volunteers and household members to undergo criminal background checks, including fingerprinting.

There are many crimes that would prevent someone from obtaining a child care license or prohibit someone from working at a child care facility, including child abuse or neglect, sexual assault, child pornography, domestic violence, assault and other dangerous felonies.

The bills would also require the state to complete annual inspections of all licensees that will be unannounced in most cases and create minimum five-year bans for child care operators and workers if they have their operator or individual licenses revoked.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

New opioid abuse prevention measures signed into Michigan law

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation supported by Sen. John Proos to help combat the state’s rising opioid addiction problem has been signed into law.

“The growing abuse of prescription and heroin is now the deadliest drug epidemic in American history and it’s getting worse,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “We have seen the terrible impacts in our local communities and throughout the state, where it is killing thousands of Michigan residents every year. These news measures address this epidemic, protect our communities, save lives and ensure that patients in severe pain have access to necessary medications.”

Included in Public Acts 246-255 of 2017 are House Bills 4406-4407, which will require the Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission to develop recommendations for student curricula addressing the risks associated with prescription drug abuse and require the Michigan Department of Education to develop a model program of instruction on prescription drug abuse that is grade- and age-appropriate based on the commission’s recommendations.

“To end this epidemic, it is critically important that we teach our children about the dangers of prescription painkillers and the risks of addiction,” Proos said. “We must ensure that they understand that there is no such thing as harmless sharing of prescription drugs.

“I want to thank Representative Beth Griffin for her leadership in protecting our next generation from opioid addiction through increased education.”

Other reforms in the package mandate more use by prescribers and dispensers of the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS) that tracks patients and prescribers for over-supply of Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances. The laws also require doctors who prescribe such drugs to use MAPS and have a bona fide prescriber-patient relationship with the patient before prescribing the controlled substances.

“We also must address the oversupply of these medications,” Proos said. “These reforms will stop abusers from taking advantage of the system to get excessive amounts of dangerously addictive drugs, while maintaining access to pain medications for patients who truly need them.”

The new laws also require that patients getting a prescription for opioids are informed of the effects and possible side effects of the drug, require the consent of parents before minors are prescribed opioids, require doctors to provide treatment service information to patients who have suffered an overdose, and limit prescriptions to seven days for acute pain in cases like having wisdom teeth removed.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

Sen. Proos announces winner of the Pure Michigan Summer Photo Contest

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos has announced that Molly Pate of Berrien Springs is the winner of the senator’s Pure Michigan Summer Photo Contest.

“Congratulations to Molly Pate for her amazing winning photo of a sailboat on a calm Lake Michigan at sunset,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Her inspiring photo will be on display in the Michigan Capitol for 2018 after receiving nearly 1,000 votes on Facebook and through an online poll.”

The top finishers in the photo contest were:
• First Place: Molly Pate of Berrien Springs — “Sunset Sail at South Haven Beach”
• Second Place: Madeline Gordon of Edwardsburg — “Sunflower Field”
• Third Place: Randy Willis of Benton Harbor — “Rainbow over Vineyard”

“The purpose of this photo contest was to give Southwest Michigan residents a way to showcase their artistic talents and capture the amazing outdoors and activities that make Michigan such an incredible place to live,” Proos said. “We had an unbelievable response — with more than 100 photos submitted. Thankfully, we had an outstanding judging panel that was able to choose 10 incredible finalists, and the people selected a beautiful image that truly illustrates summer in Michigan.”

The 10 finalist photos are available on the John Proos Supporters Page. Each finalist photo received one vote for each “like” it received on Facebook and one vote for each vote it garnered on a poll on Proos’ Senate website.

The finalist photos were also displayed in the district at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers and at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph.

Pate’s winning photo will receive a hanging ceremony in the Michigan Capitol after the New Year.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.

The winner photo is available by visiting the photo contest section on Proos’ Facebook page.